Story by members of the editorial team
A year on from the death of Jonathan Matondo in October 2007, Burngreave resident Negus Nelson was acquitted of his murder after two trials. He was the only person to be charged, despite police claims that more than one person was responsible for the killing. Where does this leave the investigation?
The Messenger spoke to Detective Superintendent Martyn Bates, in charge of the case. He is content that they have a reasonably clear picture of what happened on the night of October 17th 2007 including why and how the incident took place; the chain of events leading up to the murder of Jonathan and who was involved.
“Presently, no one has been eliminated from the investigation and there are no new names. However, in the view of the police there are a number of people – including friends of Jonathan and people who are on the periphery of gang activity – who are in position to give evidence.
If this evidence were provided it should lead to a conviction but unfortunately there has been a lack of cooperation with the investigation.The case will remain open and it is hoped that in time, if and when circumstances change, those people will do the right thing and provide the necessary evidence that will ensure the people responsible for Jonathan’s death are charged and convicted.”
He said the Police are still optimistic that ultimately the case will be resolved. But the fact that no-one has been charged raises questions about the effectiveness of the police investigation; which obviously relies on evidence from young people in a difficult, and possibly dangerous, situation.
In the months before Jonathan’s death, there were 38 gang related incidents involving non-fatal shootings and stabbings, many of them came to light because of the investigation. With further incidents since then, including the murder of Tarek Chaiboub in July for which no one has yet been charged, it is unclear how young people can feel safe to to speak out.